Jawing

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Did you ever fall asleep with death
in the corners of your mouth? Or maybe,
it was just
M&Ms and pasta.

Just before you drift away, your jaw
pops so loudly it startles the dog, and you
are sure it’s broken now, except you can
move it and it doesn’t
actually
hurt.
But it’s broken.

Well, struggling to watch a shitty season of “Scandal”
is more fulfilling than trying
to follow along with the latest socio-political
brouhaha on Twitter,
where some level of Dante-ish grad school hell
rehashes itself daily,
where 140 knows no nuance,
where patience is mythology,
and no one’s anger—
         no one’s pain—
is tolerated.
Not that you’d know,
you got a job in the city instead of going to grad school.

Then you find yourself saying,
“In the old days of Twitter”
like some privileged douchebag who
likes to read herself think.
Shit… “douchebag” isn’t a very feminist slur.
Good thing you’re done playing the mainstream
white lady feminist
reindeer games,
because now, no one will read you think.

I’m trying to come to the point.”

Tingly tingly temples, likely caused
by that broken jaw.
“Is dry skin holding
     YOU
back?”
Holy shit, YES.
HOW DID YOU KNOW.

We spent a century teaching everyone to broadcast
themselves, called it
“communications,”
and we are dumbfounded when no one
on the Internet actually
hears.
They don’t pick up our hurt, it all
spirals down a teflon toilet of
“WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.”

The dog is staring at you, crocodile-style, from your office,
cat-like in blaming you
for both the cold wind and the low-quality
dinner. Yes, the same creature
who eats poop and duck heads from street garbage,
that one
didn’t like “salmon & potato” unless you
mixed in cheese. Good thing she doesn’t have Twitter,
you’d be down a toilet, with a broken jaw, no less.

You believe in life online, you do. You have felt
in the worst, best way, the fine line
between tools and weapons. You just can’t shake
the feeling that this detonation of hubris
vomit will lead elsewhere.
Like, duh,
(a) none of this is REAL, and
(b) there is no difference between you and me.
It’s physics, assholes.

Untitled

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Take me with you.

Tell me what you had for breakfast, show me I’m
human with your urgent optimism, with your links and your lolcats
and your monstrous balloon sculpture art,
take me and listen.

Post that quote I like, the one about the foolish mistaken
notion that we are all
separate from
one another. Take me.

Done with isolation prescribed to me, ether
penetrates these crafted culture walls.
You find me
and say: you are not alone anymore.

Out there, not long ago, I was screaming into
nothing, broadcasting, waiting for my pheromone signal
to come back, tell me I’m not crazy
after all.

Now, maybe I’m addicted to this stupid blinking light but it means I’m holding
you with me.
We dig Pavlov here.

I want you to blaze info flow into the grooves
of my fingertips. Make me feel revolution in my bones, stop
jacking me off with silly antics,
blind me with delight instead.
Make me hurt with overload.

I was alone before.

Take us with you.

Rig this game, let your crafted walls fall, make
the conversation
yours, at long last.

I see what you did there.

Hear me. You have no choice, not
anymore. We’ll whisper into cultures’
new ears, we will tell them what we had for breakfast
how it is here in
these shoes,
and what we will do about it.

Essex Street Market

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I ran into Henry today, he owns the
Essex Street Market building.
Smells like old cigars, matted dreads
and stale construction. A hot city day,
breathing sidewalk and tar.

Henry told me his plan to screw
the vulture capitalists
was to put a high-rise
of low-income
housing on top of the market,
power it with solar panels —
“let those hotel bastards
look at us then!”

He said, “You don’t kill
the goose that laid the golden
egg cuz then you got no
more eggs.”

He said, “I remember when
I was young
and I wanted to be rich,
so I went out
and got rich.

Big fuckin’
deal.

I remember the first time I kissed
a girl and the time after that
and the time after that and
it was all in my head,
do you
understand?”

Event horizon

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Sneaking through barred windows over fire
escape, barbed wire on roof next door catches glinting
sudden sunshine after early December rainstorm.
Furious event horizon passes over with the
speed of NYC rush hour pedestrian traffic.
Wind kicks in, knocks me down in the
crosswalk of Broadway.
I knew it was coming.

Carport

Standard

Bare walls and rolling down hills, climbing
back to the top for a tumble. Holding 4th of July sparklers,
ghosts in the goblin. A picture of tension I never
had is recognized in pumpkins of memories. My mother holds
her breath, my father exhales too loudly.

These are her people.

There are valves that release
and close off blood that ties us together in times of
inconvenience, insecurity, and unreason. I am inside the currents
of her joy and surrender. Her desperate need to
empower me shines on the surface.

He mows the lawn to break away fallen leaves, to leave the
women to their kitchen talk. He is outnumbered in his
old age. A woman is missing, I am standing next to her footprints
in the home she never abandoned. We sneak cigarettes in the
carport. She hands me the lighter, asks me to ash
like a lady, we laugh. I wish her ghosts away from her
neverhome, haunted with the joy and unreason of
her people, my people.

Happiness Deli

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Amin is behind the counter,
gold teeth and long curly hair, a rockstar
mustache. Latin boys walk in, Amin says
hey, Frankie, mi amigo, como estas?
Frankie says, bien, bien, turkey hero. Amin makes
it for him. Cop walks in, says Ma’assalama,
Amin says Ma’assalama. The cop asks for some
more lessons on Mohammed, Amin explains
and Habib makes all the coffees. Old black man
walks in, says, what up, homes. Amin says,
hey, what up Holmes, ham sandwich tonight?
The man says, nah, Yankees lost. I can’t eat
tonight. Amin understands. Crazy schizo named
Lucky walks in, selling a radio from 1985. Ten bucks,
works and everything, he says. Amin tells him,
no man, thanks, we got radio here in Happiness.

At Clinton and Stanton, Monday morning

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I walk up Clinton Street to buy
a pack of cigarettes at four a.m. On the
corner under the streetlight are
two people encased in each other like the war
is over and the street is celebrating.
Their bikes dropped beside them,
lay abandoned for the occasion.
The scene of a crime.
I want to know.

They ran into each other after
many months of not, dropped to lock up.
They rode into each other, invited
guests of circumstance.
They rode home together, a simple
thing creates this scene.

I lower my eyes to the street.
In a pause, he says to her,
I wouldn’t do anything with you
unless it was in color,

and I wish it true.